After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of Interview 2. Features of Interview 3. Importance 4. Types 5. Forms 6. Weaknesses 7. Ways to Improve 8. Suggestions to Ensure Success in an Interview.
Meaning of Interview:
Interview is an important selection technique where there is two-way exchange of information either on one-to-one basis or by an interview panel. The interview gets important information from the candidates and can also judge whether or not they can fit into the organisation culture.
Interview is a two-way conversation. It is a personal form of communication between two people. It is a beneficial process for both the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewer tells the applicant about the job preview and helps the interviewee make his mind about whether or not he wants to take that job. Though conducting interviews is not based on fixed rules, certain guidelines for the interviewer and interviewee can make interview an effective process.
Features of Interview:
1. It is face-to-face interaction between interviewer and the interviewee.
2. It has a definite purpose known to both the parties.
3. It is generally based on pre-structured questions to be asked in a defined manner.
Importance of Interview:
Interview serves the following purposes:
1. Interview helps in selecting the candidate most suitable for the job.
2. It provides the candidate information about the organisation and the job for which he applied.
3. Interview helps in knowing details about candidate’s personality.
4. It is a method of direct contact between the employer and the candidate. Employer can observe physical characteristics of the candidates. It helps managers to check authenticity of details in the application form.
5. It helps interviewer and the interviewee know each other in detail. Complete information about the company can be given to the candidate and negotiations on salary and other terms can be made.
Types of Interviews:
Interviews can be conducted one-on-one, in a panel, or as a group. Interviews can be informal or formal, relaxed or stressful, directed or undirected.
Before preparing for an interview, the interviewee should find out how the interview will be conducted.
He can ask the following questions when the interview is being scheduled:
1. How many people will be interviewing him?
2. Will he be the only person interviewed at one time?
3. What kind of questions will be asked?
4. How can he best prepare for the interview?
Different types of interviews help him to prepare for the interview.
Interviews can be of the following types:
1. Exit Interview,
2. Stress Interview,
3. Appraisal Interview, and
4. Promotion Interview.
1. Exit Interview:
Exit interview is one of the most widely used methods of getting employee feedback. An exit interview is a meeting between at least one representative from the company’s human resources (HR) department and the departing employee. (The departing employee may have voluntarily resigned or is laid off or fired). The HR representative asks the employee questions or asks him to complete a questionnaire, or both.
Exit interview is a survey conducted with an employee when he leaves the company. The information from each survey is used to provide feedback on why employees are leaving, what they liked about their employment and what areas of the company need improvement. Exit interviews are effective when the data is compiled and tracked over time.
2. Stress Interview:
The stress interview creates and promotes discomfort intentionally. The interviewer may adopt harsh attitude. He may stare, be silent, and spend time taking notes. He puts the interviewee in a position where he can observe how he acts and speaks under pressure. He looks specially at his reaction to stressful situations.
Employers use stress interview to:
a) Create a stressful job environment and evaluate the candidate in terms of his ability to handle stressful situations.
b) Evaluate the true nature of candidates to see if the candidate is likely to lose his cool and react intuitively and emotionally, under stressful conditions.
3. Appraisal Interview:
Once a year, all employees of the company have to undergo appraisal interview with their line manager. This interview evaluates the interviewee’s performance over the past year, reviews the tasks and objectives for the next year. The appraisal interview is used as a tool by the managers of personnel department for planning training programmes.
On day-to-day basis, managers do not have time to discuss long-term and basic conditions with regard to employee’s employment and commitments. Therefore, the companies want that all employees should have an opportunity to participate in annual appraisal interview to secure that competence of the individual employees is used in the best possible way in connection with company’s goals.
This interview improves:
a. Performance of employees on the job,
b. Employer-employee relations, and
c. Communication between managers and employees.
4. Promotion Interview:
This interview is faced by a person when he is due for promotion. This interview is conducted to test his aptitude for assuming job of higher importance, even if a person is the only candidate to appear for the interview. If there are more than one candidate for the promotion interview, management can select the best candidate on the basis of selected criteria. A promotion interview is linked to growth of the person and the organisation he is working for.
It is not possible for management to keep record of the successes and failures of all the employees on their jobs and have access to them in order to decide the candidate most suitable for the job. Managers have to find the kind of people suitable for higher positions and conduct the interview to that mind set.
Though interviewer and interviewee already know each other, this interview may start in an informal way, yet the interviewee cannot treat the interviewer as his friend. He should act professionally and consider the interview as a formal one.
Forms of Interview:
There are generally three forms of interview:
1. Structured interview:
The interviewer prepares a set of purely job related questions asked in the same sequence.
Some of these questions are:
(1) Where were you working last?
(2) Why do you want to change your job?
(3) What are your expectations from this job?
Structured interview does not give flexibility to the interviewer to ask questions about the candidate’s personality.
2. Semi-structured interview:
In a semi-structured interview, the interviewer asks the structured, pre-determined questions along with questions about the candidate’s personality, strengths and weaknesses, his experience at other jobs, etc. This interview is more conversational and interesting and gets better response about the candidate’s personality than a structured interview.
3. Un-structured interview:
An unstructured interview is not planned or based on systematic, predetermined list of questions. It is a spontaneous interaction between the interviewer and interviewee. The information that interviewer collects about the candidate may not be relevant or truly job related which can assess the candidate’s suitability for the particular job. It may contain an element of bias or subjectivity on the part of the interviewer to select a candidate.
Weaknesses of an Interview:
Though interview is the most commonly adopted method of selection, it may not always prove to be effective because of the following weaknesses:
1. Imbalanced positions:
While interviewing, the interviewer is confident of his position. He can, therefore, ask any question to the interviewee but interviewees are normally tensed during the interview. Even knowledgeable and competent candidates may not perform well in the interview. Rejection of candidates purely on the basis of interview is, thus, not desirable.
Interviewer may also be biased against interviewee. Selection on the basis of biased interview is not correct. Interviews based on biases towards candidates does not give good results. It is the assumption of the interviewer that a person good in one activity is good in all and a person bad in one activity is bad in all other activities also.
It, thus, evaluates a person on the basis of a single or few qualities and not all the qualities on the basis of which he should be ranked. It takes partial view of the person and evaluates him totally on that ground. It is like evaluating the whole on the basis of a sample. Though it may work in case of objects, it is not always true in evaluating people.
2. Wrong presentation:
Sometimes, the candidate answers to please the interviewer. This does not reflect true picture of his candidature. A wrong candidate can, thus, be selected.
3. Unstructured interviews:
When the interviewer does not plan an interview, he may ask questions not relevant to the job. This does not fully explore the potential of the candidate.
4. Theoretical details:
Interview only extracts theoretical details about the candidate’s personality. Job related practical skills cannot be determined through interviews.
Ways to Improve the Interview:
Some of the ways in which weaknesses of the interview can be overcome are as follows:
1. Training of interviewer:
Before conducting an interview, the interviewer should be trained to ask questions related to the job, rather than asking unstructured or haphazard questions. He should decide the basis on which candidate is to be evaluated and weightage to be given to interview in the total selection process.
2. Maintain balance:
The interviewer should make the interview a comfortable interaction with the candidate where the candidate does not feel tensed and stressed to answer the questions. He should be mentally relaxed to answer the questions.
Sometimes, the interviewer deliberately asks questions to harass the candidate. Such an attitude should be avoided. The interviewer should make interview comfortable and stress-free by asking clear and simple questions in the beginning. Questions should be asked when the candidate overcomes the mental stress of interview.
3. Multiple interviews:
To avoid personal bias in the selection process, different interviewers should interview the same candidate and, jointly, they should decide the suitability of the candidate.
4. Supplementary facts:
Even if a candidate does not perform well in the interview, he should not be rejected straightaway. The details in his application form, his performance in the preliminary interview and responses of cross references should be considered before concluding the final result.
Suggestions to Ensure Success in an Interview:
Many people think they will get a good job after doing well in an interview. They think, they will find a company they want to work for, on the basis of their knowledge. However, this is not always true. Even the smartest student in the class, having more marks than any of his friends, from a good private school, or a famous college may not get the job if he walks to an interview unprepared. He should do research about the company, dress professionally and have reason to tell the interviewer why they should hire him.
Many people struggle on finding the right steps to have a successful interview. The job interview is usually the most stressful part of the job search. It does not have to be a stressful situation. The most important thing for the candidate is to be prepared. If he prepares for the interview, the stress level will be reduced dramatically.
The following suggestions ensure success in an interview:
1. The interviewee should research as much as he can about the company’s products, services, markets, competitors, trends, current activities and priorities.
2. He should prepare answers for the type of questions he will be asked. He should be able to say why he wants the job, what are his strengths, how would he do the job, what are his best achievements etc.
3. He should ask for a copy of the company’s employment terms and conditions or employee handbook before the interview, in order to save time covering routine matters during the interview.
4. He should collect evidence of his achievements in the past.
5. He should update his resume.
6. He should gather important material related to the company to be prepared for the interview, like the sales brochures and literature, a trade magazine covering the company’s market sector, and a newspaper for the few days before the interview to remain informed about the world and national news.
7. He should review his personal goals and speak openly and honestly about them and how he plans to achieve them.
8. He should have two or three good reputable and relevant references who would be happy to be contacted.
9. He should adopt an enthusiastic, alert and positive mind-set in the interview.
10. He should positively deal with negative aspects of his profile and tell the truth rather than evading or distorting facts.